How and Why to Buy Prescription Drugs

Do you get anxious when you need to fill a prescription? There are ways to decrease your monthly bill for medication, and even to stop taking some of the medications. In some cases it is very easy, but sometimes it requires you to make a commitment.

The Why: Pharmacists commonly hear complaints from their customers about the high cost of prescription drugs. You have a number of options for reducing your prescription drug expense, but first you have to consider WHY.

* Be prepared at your visit to the doctor. Think of any questions ahead of time and write them on a piece of paper. Bring a list of questions and make sure that you ask all of them.

* The most important question you should have for your doctor is why they feel that prescribing the medication is necessary.

* Could a change in lifestyle get rid of the problem? If you are carrying some extra pounds, could losing weight allow you to keep off the medicine? Would it help to start a physical fitness program?

* Is there a generic drug on the market that awill produce the same results?

* Ask your prescriber if the new medicine will have negative interactions with any medication you are already taking.  Keep you medications listed on a piece of paper, and carry them with you in your wallet so you can refer to them when you need to.

* Once you are sure the new medication is needed and there are no samples available to you, ask for a month’s worth of the medication. This should give you enough time to find out if there are any adverse drug reactions, and if the medicine is truly doing its job.

The Buy:  People commonly select the pharmacy that is most convenient for them to use. Don’t allow that to be your only reason. Find a pharmacy that you are comfortable using, and don’t be afraid to ask any question you may have.  When it comes to your health, the more informed you are the better.

* Inquire about the working staff there, and find out if they have substitute employees regularly.

* Find out about their methods for detecting drug-drug, drug-food, and drug-OTC (Over The Counter) medication interactions.

* Find out if they are super busy all of the time, or if they feel like they work at a nice steady pace.

* Find out if they will help you out in reducing your medication bill:
• When presented with a new prescription, do they automatically fill it with the generic version?
• If there is not a generic version available, will they go the extra step and call/fax the prescriber with recommendations for a less expensive medication?
• Will they let you know when generic becomes available?
• Do they price out a three month supply versus a one month supply, to help determine the most economical for you to purchase your medication?
• Will they automatically get in touch with the prescriber if you present them a refill prescription that has expired?
• Will they work to resolve problems with your insurance company, and if the problem can’t be solved, will they get in touch with the prescriber and inform them?
• If they change manufacturers, will they tell you?

The best thing would be for you to drop off, or call in you prescription no less than one day in advance. This will:

* Give the pharmacy time to order more medicine if they happen to be out of stock.
* If there is a problem with your insurance company, it will allow the problem to be resolved.
* If the prescriber must be contacted, it will allow them time to get in contact with them.

A word on personal responsibility: You only get one body, so you need to make sure that keep it in good shape. If you weigh more than you should, seek assistance. If you feel depressed, don’t ignore it–talk to your doctor about it. Don’t make a small problem into a large one: a doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional would rather call on what you believe are minor issues, than wait until the treatment is extensive, and costly.

Your pharmacist is quite knowledgeable; use his knowledge to your advantage. Go to just one pharmacy and become acquainted with the people working there. They will care more about your health if they see that you care about it and take it seriously.

Ask questions, study the literature he gives you. Know the reason why you are taking the prescription and how long you will be taking it. Ask:

* What time of day should you take it?
* Can you take it with meals?
* Is it safe to take with the other medications I take?
* Is it okay to cut or crush this medication?
* If your symptoms have disappeared, should you stop taking the medicine without telling your doctor?
* What are some of the possible side effects?

Keep in mind, you get what you pay for, and the cheapest isn’t always the best option. However, the most expensive is not necessarily always the best either. Familiarize yourself with the WHYs and BUYs of decreasing your prescription drug expenses.

February 10th, 2009 - Posted in Medicines | | Comments Off

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